Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for July 9, 2020 is:

bromide • BROH-myde  • noun

1 : a binary compound of bromine with another element or a radical including some (such as potassium bromide) used as sedatives

2 a : a commonplace or tiresome person : bore

b : a commonplace or hackneyed statement or notion


“In many ways, he’s an outlier on the self-help circuit. Thomas isn’t selling shortcuts to success or feel-good bromides. He makes achievement sound grueling. His knack is for transforming those he meets—a CEO, an NBA All-Star, a guy manning the desk at a hotel—into the sort of person who loves digging deep and grinding hard.” — Leslie Pariseau, GQ, 28 May 2020

“Currently, Virginia’s leaders are engaged in a tax debate over standard deductions for the middle class. Studying that problem would be a bromide that induces inertia. What is needed is action.” — L. Scott Lingamfelter, The Richmond (Virginia) Times Dispatch, 20 Jan. 2019

Did you know?

After bromine was discovered in the 1820s, chemists could not resist experimenting with the new element. It didn’t take long before they found uses for its compounds, in particular potassium bromide. Potassium bromide started being used as a sedative to treat everything from epilepsy to sleeplessness, and by the 20th century, the word bromide was being used figuratively for anything or anyone that might put one to sleep because of commonness or just plain dullness. Today, bromides are no longer an ingredient in sedative preparations, but we can still feel the effects of figurative bromides as we encounter them in our daily routines.

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